House Hunting in New Jersey: An Offer That Flopped
Ready to hear more about our house hunting adventure in New Jersey?
This is a story about an offer that flopped, but the reason the offer flopped is still hard to understand.
The first home we made an offer on was a 5 bedroom, 3 bath home. The property is what really sold us on the home. It was on 3.5 acres and a creek ran through the property.
It was priced at $380,000.
In order to keep all the homes we were looking at straight in our minds, we gave the houses nicknames.
This one was the ‘sad house’ because the home looked sad and neglected in the listing.
Don’t let these brightly lit photos fool you, in person the house looked really depressing.
It also smelled like a cigarette factory inside.
So we said, “Let’s make an offer! It’s perfect for us!”
The home’s size at 3,200 sq. ft. was a big factor. Most homes in the under $400,000 price point in this area of New Jersey are around 1,500 sq. ft. or smaller.
As you may know, any property near water is also a big selling point for us. This home was also located in a really nice rural area of New Jersey with excellent schools.
However, the home needed a lot of work. It needed a new kitchen and bathrooms. It definitely needed a new roof and windows. There was dry rot on some of the siding. It still had a heating oil tank in the ground that would have to be removed.
The basement and foundation appeared to be in pretty solid shape though, so that’s something.
Don’t forget we would have to rip out carpeting and deal with the smoke smell too!
The home had been on the market for close to 6 months and needed a ton of work, so we made a low ball offer of $327,000.
We figured the worst thing that would happen is the seller countered.
Except the worst thing that happened is they didn’t respond. It was radio silence.
The seller’s agent first said that the seller was traveling out of the country and would be delayed in responding.
After three days, the seller’s agent said he couldn’t find his client.
Approximately a week later, the agent finally got back to us. Remember, an offer expires after a certain amount of time, so our offer had long expired at this point.
Instead of countering or saying “no” the agent just said, “At that price, it would be a short sale.”
As far as we could tell, this home hadn’t been on the market since the 1980s. At no time in all of these interactions or in the listing had anyone ever indicated this home was a short sale or would be nearing a short sale.
Our agent asked the next logical question. At what price would it not be a short sale?
No one seemed to know. Huh.
We had already moved on in our home search by this time, but it was still the strangest encounter.
We were later notified that the home had been turned over to an attorney. We sent a letter from our attorney, just to be safe, indicating that we were no longer interested in this home and our offer should in no way be used as an indication of interest in any legal proceedings.
Last I checked, the home is still on the market and the price has been lowered by $40,000.
There is still no indication that this home is a short sale. If we had know they would take $340,000, we might have considered it. Maybe. Also, just because a home in this situation is listed at a certain price it doesn’t mean the bank has to accept that price.
In hindsight, we are very happy that we dodged a potentially sticky situation. The homes surrounding this one are all valued around $600k – $700k, so I know someone will pick up this property and turn it into an amazing home once again. It has so much potential!
So where did that leave us? Well, the pressure ratcheted up a few degrees on our house hunting in New Jersey adventure. Sure, we had an offer that flopped, but that’s okay. The right home for us was still out there. We hoped. We just had to find it, buy it, and move in before our lease expired.
Oh, and there’s one more complication. Because we didn’t have enough of those! Our landlord decided to sell the home we were living in, so scraping this whole house buying plan and staying where we were and renting for another year was suddenly not an option.
To be continued…
Interior photos used in this post via Zillow.
If you missed part one of this saga, click here to find out what we are looking for in a home.
Does this story make you feel as anxious as it did me? Here are some more light-hearted posts:
This looks like a wonderful piece of property. The house looked fairly nice but as you said needs updating. I think the fact that you found mold and dry rot was a major issue plus the cigarette smell. I think you made a good decision to look further.
Only time will tell! HA!